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Wakefield School breaks ‘ground’ on its new theater

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Wakefield students find the designated spot for demolition.

Everyone’s heard of a groundbreaking -- but on Feb. 22 and 23, Wakefield School launched the renovation of its Lower School gym into a new theater space with something different: a wall-breaking. The demolition spot on the wall of the gym was designated as the door into a new anticipated theater space.

The George L. Ohrstrom Jr. Theater & Auditorium represents the long-awaited final phase of Wakefield School’s 25-year build-out of its campus in The Plains. The theater’s opening next academic year will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the school’s founding.

The renovation of the space of the academic building with the current gym will feature a fully-functioning theater, complete with a proscenium stage, a box-office, set and costume shops, wing space and overhead rigging to manipulate scenery and hang lighting, dressing rooms, bathrooms and acoustic modifications.

It will also feature a raked seating system that is fully retractable, allowing the new theater to continue to fulfill many of the current gym’s “multi-purpose room” functions, like staging academic displays -- a science fair or history night -- and hosting special dinners and other community gatherings.

Director of Development and Community Relations Ann-Charlotte Robinson said, “Our students and theater faculty have created award-winning theater in a gym for 25 years! They so deserve the gift of a state-of-the-art facility to match their ambitions and the community has truly stepped up to make it happen.”

“No celebration of the beginning of construction would be complete without acknowledging the dedication and resourcefulness of our Development Chair Piers Carey,” said Wakefield's Head of School Ashley Harper. “It is not an overstatement to say that we would not be where we are with this project without his skilled and indefatigable leadership -- always delivered with his renowned sense of humor.”

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